The image as question: An exhibition of evidential photography (Michael Hoppen Gallery).Visited 9.11.16.
Crime or evidential photography is the theme of the exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London, bringing together images from the 19th century, alongside relevant pieces of contemporary art. Many images are imply records of facts, “taken to prove a point” (gallery, nd), often from police records, not art photography. There are some interesting subjects such as the student who prior to the exam write prompts on her legs; she agreed to be photographed after the exam if her name wasn’t recorded, and subsequently was not caught!
Some images are documentary as art such as Dr Harold Edgerton’s “Milk drop coronet” 1957 famous images of milk drops are shown and Guy Bourdin’s “Crime scene”. Certainly “The inclusion of these works alongside more pragmatic imagery raises thorny old questions around whether photography is art, and if so, what makes it so – aesthetics? The intent of the photographer?” (Williams 2016).
It seems to me that in the early part of the 1900s the boundaries in documentary photography were far less blurred than they are now.
These were the 1mages that most struck me
Guy Bourdin. 1975. “Crime scene”: This shot was fabricated as a crime scene for a fashion photograph to advertise shoes. On a street, with an open automobile doorcar door, lines tracing the position where a body was, and an abandoned pair of pink shoes on the pavement. If you viewed the photograph not knowing the photographer or the story behind the image, you would think it a documentary picture.
Ernst Has. 1956. “Moby Dick”. This photograph reveals the mechanics of making films and is straightforward photojournalism.
Unknown. “Decapitated man”. France 1880s. These three images are of a head placed on a stone block following being guillotined, again straightforward photojournalism.
Harold Edgerton. 1972. “Bullet through a helium balloon”. This is an amazing image, where the openings made either side of the balloont are obvious for the entry and exit sites of the bullet and yet the structure of the balloon is still intact. This image is both documentary and art.
Gallery, M.H. (no date) ? The image as question – works. Available at: http://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/exhibitions/139/overview/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Williams, E. (2016) The photo as proof: An exhibition of crime photography. Available at: https://www.creativereview.co.uk/photography-proof-exhibition-crime-photography/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).